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Thread: AW's Day of Listening - Interviews Thread

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  1. #11
    C'est la vie! vixey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Bayou Bill

    Bayou Bill

    Tell us about your avatar.
    The guy in the hat is three-time Louisiana Governor Earl Long, the kid brother of Huey Long, the Kingfish. I got to meet him (Earl not Huey) and really liked the guy.

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    At one time or another I've been a country grocery store clerk, oil field roustabout, infantry soldier, graduate student, paper pusher for the government, out-of-work, a newspaper columnist, and now a struggling fiction writer.

    I have a Bachelor’s from LSU and a Master's from Louisiana Tech (both in history), and had academic work published. My fiction has appeared in Rose and Thorn, USADeepSouth,, New Works Review, Chick Flicks, Muscadine Line, Nibbler, and now, Long Story Short.

    After picking up a Combat Infantry Badge and Purple Heart in Vietnam, I lived in New York City off-and-on from 1970-1972 undergoing a series of eye operations and meeting my future wife. That experience is the background for my first novel, A Brief Affair.

    Although born and raised in Louisiana, I'm out-stationed with my family in Dallas where I've just finished my second novel, We Danced to Ray Charles, a coming-of-age, mainstream story, set in a small Southern town in 1968. As proof the age of miracles hasn’t past, it was named a semi-finalist in the 2005 Faulkner competition.

    You've mentioned elsewhere you've been happily married for 30 plus years and that you have two daughters. What other family has been added along the way?

    Well, since you asked. We have three children, two girls and a boy and, thanks to the oldest one, two granddaughters. She’s an RN. Number-two daughter is a special ed teacher. Our son is in the second year of the graduate screenwriting program at the American Film Institute in LA.

    When did you first discover you wanted to become a writer?

    I was a slow learner, but about halfway through the first grade I started to get the hang of writing.

    Why did you write your first story?
    I’m not positive, but odds are my fear of getting a whipping if I came home with a “F” in English on my report card played a big role.

    What do you write: novels, shorts, non-fiction? And what genre?

    Most of my short stories have been romances, dramas, comedies, and/or unpublished. My two novels have been mainstream.

    What inspires you to write?

    I use a lot of imagination to try and turn selected bits of my real-life experiences into something interesting. It’s a challenge.

    What are your goals as a writer?
    To write at least one novel that’s well-crafted, entertaining, and what Hemingway referred to as, “true.” I suppose getting the thing published would be another goal. Otherwise, it would be like talking to myself.

    What do you find the most frustrating and rewarding about writing?
    I’ve never pulled a Balzac, and rolled on the floor, tearing my hair out trying to think of the perfect word, phrase, or description, but I feel his pain.

    The most rewarding part is when a reader says something you wrote touched them. It’s very humbling, but also an incredible rush.

    What books inspire you to write and who are your favorite authors?
    Good ones.

    My favorite authors are the usual list of suspects: Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, P. G. Wodehouse, Elmore Leonard, Walker Percy, Walter Moseley, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, etc.

    Do you read often?
    A lot, at least these days. Back when I was working full-time, very active in community service work, and doing my best to help housebreak three kids, there was no time for novels. That was tough for a guy who minored in English Lit. Now, I’m trying to catch up.

    How do rejection letters affect you?
    I try to pity the poor fool who wrote the misguided sucker. If that doesn’t work, there’s always Jack Daniels.

    Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
    Who me, writer’s block? What a concept. But seriously folks, when stuck I either re-write, which often restarts the flow, or walk the dogs.

    Describe your writing routine.
    For me, there’s no such thing as a typical writing day. I have a schedule; it’s just very neglected.

    Do you have any advice for fledgling writers?
    Don’t bore your reader. It’s analogous to Elmore Leonard’s famous writing maxim: Try to leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

    When did you join AW and what do you remember about joining then?
    June 2006. My most vivid memory of joining is being very confused. That hasn’t change much, of course.

    Do you have a favorite thread at AW? Why?
    Royalty For A Week. Why? For me, it’s a fun place to kickback and enjoy the give-and-take and support.

    How have you benefited from AW as a writer?
    AW used a how-to piece of mine, On Being A Happy Hooker, in its newsletter, which is a classy credit to flash at editors. Giving and getting critiques is always a plus. I tend to infest the Suddenly Fiction forum. And the tips on writing and calls for submissions is invaluable.

    Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    Well, we’ve left out any mention of me winning second place in the tetherball competition at Boy Scout camp one year, fouling out in the second quarter of a basketball game, being class reporter in ninth grade, or breaking my nose while playing chess.

    Following is a sample of Bill’s writing:
    From Crossed Up, a published short story.

    “The barking dog in back was Belle, short for Beelzebub; the bad tempered by-product of a brief but turbulent liaison between a vicious Rhodesian Ridgeback and a brutal Catahoula Cur hog dog.”
    Last edited by vixey; 12-14-2008 at 05:35 PM.

    Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.-Dr. Seuss

    "Thank God for fingers and muses. Writing is like singing the blues on a laptop."-cwj

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